The Perez Family

Christine Bell, Author W. W. Norton & Company $19.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-393-02798-3
After 20 years in Cuban prisons, Juan Raul Perez is hauled from his cell without any explanation. Is he facing his own execution? But a fate stranger than death awaits him: he is shipped off to Miami. Instead of being reunited with his wife and daughter, whom he'd sent to safety there just before his arrest, Juan travels through government processing centers, bewildered and not quite believing in his liberation. One U.S. agent's error results in his being registered as the husband of a fellow tranportee with the same last name, sexy Dottie with the ``Cuban-madonna hips''; another bureaucrat's slipup lands Juan and Dottie in a shelter for the homeless instead of a refugee center. Dottie, ever-enterprising and desperate to get at the spoils of democracy (``John Wayne, Elvis Presley . . . blue jeans, nail polish''), persuades Juan that they will gain their freedom more swiftly if they allow the authorities to think them married; they subsequently ``adopt'' a grown son as well as a senile father. The two Perez families, the genuine and the self-invented, continue to form and reform as this lustrous black comedy unfolds. Bell ( Saint ) sustains her feverish plot with wit and verve; her humor and dexterity are matched by her mercy for her characters and the chaotic world so unforgettably rendered here. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1990
Release date: 08/01/1990
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-06-097401-5
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-694-51517-2
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